Nina Simone (Eunice Waymon) is an outstanding American singer with a notoriously difficult nature, exemplary devotion to art, and many-faceted talent. She was born in Tyron, North Carolina, 21 February, 1933. As a child, she desired to play piano and had no dream to become a singer. She managed to acquire education at one of the best music schools in New York, which was a miracle for an Afro-American girl. After that, she stared her music career at night clubs. She picked the Nina Simone stage name to pay tribute to her favorite actress Simone Signoret. Once she had tried playing piano and singing at the same time, she decided to combine them every time she gave a concert. Soon the audience could watch Nina as an actress, singer, dancer and pianist in one. Bethlehem Records noticed the young talented girl and offered her a contract. She began an active recording work and released one album after another. It was classic jazz that she used for basis of her music with skilful addition of elements of many other trends. In 1959 Nina produced her first nationwide hit, I Loves You Porgy, to peak second in rhythm-and-blues charts.
The sixties were the moment of Nina’s highest glory as she releases such celebrated songs as To Be Young, Gifted and Black, I Put a Spell on You, Trouble in Mind, Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out, Do What You Gotta Do, and Revolution, each one leading numerous ratings. Nina Simone was always flexible when choosing a song to perform. She did not care who the author was, or what genre the song belonged to. It was the emotional side she paid attention to, its inner power drawing the listener’s and the singer’s heart. Nina was rightfully considered one of the leading civil rights activists. She knew Martin Luther King personally and felt deeply this man’s assassination. Simone recorded a number of songs devoted to this irksome issue, to condemn fearlessly and acutely the social inequality and other vices of the public. The most understanding composition among them is called Mississippi Goddam, written shortly after King’s death.
The seventies saw Nina’s music go through some changes, which was a result of her focus on pop-soul. Her albums were not as unpredictable and emotional as before. Simone could not stand racial discrimination plaguing the USA, and she decided to leave the country. At that time, she faced numerous hardships, including a divorce, conflicts with the recording companies, and financial crisis. This took its toll on Nina’s music studio activity which was less productive than in her recent past. Her new albums were of little interest to the audience. In the eighties, she worked in studio rarely and concentrated on live performances. Her name was again in the spotlight after her old song My Baby Just Cares for Me, recorded in 1959, was chosen for the Chanel commercial. Nina’s last album, A Single Woman, was released in 1993. Nina spent the nineties struggling with her health troubles, which forced her to cancel a number of performances. She lived her last years in France. Nina Simone died in 2003, aged 70, with a huge music legacy left behind and her glorious name written forever in the showbiz history.